Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Review: Chris and Nancy by Irvin Muchnick

Goodreads: Exploring the steroid-fueled world of professional wrestling, this riveting chronicle lays bare the devastating events that led to the 2007 murder-suicide of Chris Benoit, his wife Nancy, and their seven-year-old son, Daniel. Benoit's performance-enhancing drug addiction - massive amounts of doctor-prescribed human growth hormone were found in Benoit's home - and subsequent suicide proved to be the tipping point for the professional wrestling world, resulting in unprecedented scrutiny of the sport's sub par health and safety standards. Using public record, dozen of interviews with those inside and outside of wrestling, and investigative results, this authoritative analysis provides an uncompromising look at the price athletes pay in this rough-and-tumble world.

Kritters Thoughts: Before I review the book, I found a very cool site to read galleys online - NetGalley. I requested to read a few galleys, most will be electronic versions, but the variety in books is great. So this book was my first to read from NetGalley and my first to read completely electronically. Beyond forgetting not to scroll until the page was completely read, I enjoyed this different reading experience.

Now to the review: First, I am not a wrestling fan, but I am a fan of celebrity news, gossip and scandal. Also, I have a hankering for unsolved and solved mysteries. I knew of this incident before I read the book, but I was not aware of all the details of this dreadful weekend. One other aspect that kept me drawn to the book is the location. Right near Atlanta where one of my dearest friends lives, I love to read a book where I can imagine being there. I also have a special place in my heart to anywhere south where sweet tea is served at every restaurant - why NoVA why??

Irvin Muchnick paints a great picture of all sides of the story providing details of the events that took place. I appreciated how he set the book up with all the information the reader needs to know about the weekend and then goes to evaluate how this whole happening could have been prevented. Before reading, I stood on the fence as to the complete involvement of steroids in causing the murder-suicide. Now after reading it, I am firmly and completely still on the fence. As to my opinion, I believe that obviously having drugs in his system, this can not be denied and they probably helped fuel the situation. Although, upon hearing how he calculated his own suicide with weights, I think there was some thought put into it and the "roid rage" theory would not enable him to have pure thoughts.

The part where I am firmly off the fence is the involvement and cover up by the WWE. I believe Muchnick and I are on the same side of the fence in stating that the WWE had great responsibility to reprimand Benoit when he failed numerous drug and steroid tests. As well, after reading the book and the detailed timelines of the weekend, Vince McMahon and the WWE went to great lengths to cover their names, instead of helping with the investigation. I was beyond disappointed when I read their take on the timeline of events.
I would recommend this read to either gender who is interested in celebrity scandals, but also interested in hearing the facts behind the whole investigation.

Rating: enjoyable, but didn't leave me wanting more

Pages: 256 pages
GR July-Sept Challenge: Keeping up with the Math (Addition)

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